Nipah: Centre recommends 5-prong strategy to Kerala

The Union health ministry on Monday recommended a five-pronged strategy to the Kerala government to tackle Nipah, based on the first report submitted by the central expert team to visit the state amid the outbreak.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told Chief Secretary V P Joy to strengthen hospital-based and community-based surveillance and to undertake an active search of cases in containment areas. “Awareness needs to be created among the field formations for early detections of cases of Acute Encephalitis syndrome/respiratory distress and risk communicated to the public,” Bhushan wrote.

Bhushan said that district authorities must identify primary and secondary contacts. “All high-risk contacts may be moved to identified facility quarantine and observed for symptoms,” Bhushan wrote.

The health secretary, pointing to health infrastructure, said that an adequate number of single rooms and ICUs may be earmarked as standby at the Government Medical College in Kozhikode.

“A referral system be established along with earmarked ambulances and trained staff. Adequate stock of Ribaverin (anti-viral) and personal protective equipment need to be maintained at the district level,” Bhushan wrote.

The Centre also recommended that the state set up a control room for daily reporting of cases. “Coordination with animal health and wildlife department and other field officers may be initiated to trap and collect samples from fruit bats for virological studies and other associated measures,” Bhushan wrote.

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